A new Dallas company will send you everything you need to grow herbs and vegetables at home, even if you live in a downtown high-rise.EXPAND
A new Dallas company will send you everything you need to grow herbs and vegetables at home, even if you live in a downtown high-rise.
Beth Rankin

A New Dallas Company Wants to Become the Blue Apron of Edible Gardening

Millennials get left out of all the good stuff: homeownership, decent salaries, ever hoping to pay off student loans. As a result, a lot of this much-maligned demographic group tends to take up residence in rapidly proliferating apartment complexes that have crowded Dallas, which means there's one thing many millennials don't have much of: lawns.

Still, gardening — particularly edible gardening — is once again becoming a popular pastime with the 18-34 set. One local company is hoping to tap into that green-thumbed desire by launching a meal kit-esque mail-order gardening kit.

Gardenuity, created by Dallas-born entrepreneur Donna Letier, wants to make gardening accessible to anyone, even if you live in a high-rise and have killed every poor ficus that's ever crossed your doorstep.

"Most of our customers are new at gardening," Letier says. To cater to newbies, Gardenuity has created a system that seems damn near foolproof.

For $32 to $55, Gardenuity will send customers everything they need to start growing herbs or vegetables: "Pre-portioned soil, custom compost, plant food, a portable container, your plant (live plant or organic seed square), and simple planting instructions," according to Gardenuity's website. Customers will receive plants that are in season and able to grow in their  climates.

"We won’t sell you something that it’s not the right time to plant," Letier says. "We also create custom compost based on your ZIP code, what you’re growing and the time of year. We’ve really customized it down to the ZIP code, which is really cool."

As anyone who's ever tried to compost kitchen scraps in a cramped apartment kitchen can attest, a brick of custom compost is a helpful touch. You can also specify whether you want to grow vegetables on your patio or herbs on your kitchen counter.

A sample kit from GardenuityEXPAND
A sample kit from Gardenuity
Beth Rankin

On top of that, Gardenuity's "concierge" will send customers "personalized reminders, weather alerts and growing tips right to your inbox based on what you’re growing and where you live." Growing tomatoes on a balcony? Gardenuity will email you if a heatwave is coming, suggesting you bring the plant inside and maybe give it a little extra water.

Obviously, it doesn't usually cost $32 to grow a rosemary plant — you can buy all the supplies you need from a garden store for a fraction of the cost. But Gardenuity is attempting to target the same crowd that subscribes to meal kits like Blue Apron — consumers willing to pay extra for both convenience and a little coaching. If you're already cultivating a plot at the community garden down the road, this service likely isn't for you (and you're likely not living in Dallas). But if you're convinced you'll kill that oregano if left to your own devices — and you're willing to pay a price — Gardenuity will do most of the heavy lifting for you.

Supplies and moral support aside, Gardenuity will also send you weekly recipes to help you make the most of that rosemary plant.

"It’s about making gardening accessible to anybody," Letier says. "And it's like getting a bouquet of fresh flowers in the mail."

Except these flowers come with step-by-step instructions to keep them alive and, as long as you don't kill them, you can eat them anytime your little green heart desires.

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